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Gold medal winners to get pensions?

SLOVAK sports figures who have won gold medals at Olympic or para-Olympic games or who have won gold at world championship events should be entitled to a special stipend from the state, according to a draft bill proposed by the Education Ministry.

In its draft amendment to the Act on Sports, the ministry proposes that such gold medal winners should get a special state subsidy of Sk17,000 a month, which is almost 2.5 times the minimal wage, starting at the age of 50, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote.

The ministry has calculated that currently fewer than 50 athletes would be entitled to draw this stipend, which would cost the state Sk12 million between 2008 and 2010.

“Why should an athlete who made the country famous not be entitled to receive some Sk20,0000 after turning 50?” asked Dušan Galis, an MP for the ruling Smer party and the former coach of the national football team. Galis is the government’s appointee for youth and sports.

Associations representing athletes have said that many encounter financial problems after completing their sports careers.

“There are cases in which these athletes cannot pay for the rent [on their houses] for six months, so we pay it for them,” said Anton Tkáč, the head of the Slovak Association of Olympic Athletes.

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